Serena sets up clash with French Open nemesis

Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:30am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams was a picture of torment for a set and a half on Saturday before finding her range to fend off Elina Svitolina 4-6 6-2 6-0 and set up a fourth round clash with French Open nemesis Garbine Muguruza.

The top seed entered Rod Laver Arena with a frown and grumbled through an hour of miscued groundstrokes, but she was all smiles as she approached the net to commiserate the 26th-seeded Ukrainian after doling out a third set bagel.

"Nowadays, if I get past the fourth round, it's like party time," Williams told reporters breezily.

It was not long before the 18-times grand slam champion turned her attention to avenging one of her bigger upsets at the majors.

Spaniard Muguruza was a fast rising if unheralded 20-year-old before Roland Garros last year but became an overnight sensation by thrashing a lead-footed Williams 6-2 6-2 in the second round on the way to a maiden grand slam quarter-final appearance.

Muguruza, seeded 24th in Melbourne, has continued her upward trajectory and like Williams bageled her third round opponent, Timea Bacsinszky, in the third set of their match on Saturday.

Williams described her French Open shock as a "good loss".

"As angry as I was, it was the best loss I had the whole year last year," she said.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. stretches to hit a return to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during their women's singles third round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 24, 2015.    REUTERS/Thomas Peter